alexa Latent Inhibition Speeds up but Weakens the Extinction
ISSN: 2161-0487

Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy
Open Access

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Research Article

Latent Inhibition Speeds up but Weakens the Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Humans

Bram Vervliet*

Department of Psychology, KU Leuven, Belgium

Corresponding Author:
Bram Vervliet
Department of Psychology
KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102
B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: May 02, 2013; Accepted date: June 20, 2013; Published date: June 28, 2013

Citation: Vervliet B (2013) Latent Inhibition Speeds up but Weakens the Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Humans. J Psychol Psychother S7:002. doi:10.4172/2161-0487.S7-002

Copyright: © 2013 Vervliet B. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Prevention is better than cure, but little is known about effective prevention of anxiety disorders. Individuals vulnerable for trauma-exposure would benefit from effective techniques to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress. One reason for the apparent standstill in this literature may be the exclusive focus on the development of fear, while pre-clinical anxiety treatment research has turned to impaired extinction of fear as the main mechanism underlying abnormal anxiety. Conditioning theories propose latent inhibition as a technique to prevent the development of fears, but the effects on fear extinction have not been examined in detail. I conducted two experiments to evaluate the effects of latent inhibition on extinction in a standard human fear conditioning paradigm, which serves as a model for post-traumatic stress disorder. Skin conductance reactivity and online expectancy ratings revealed slower rates of fear acquisition in the latent inhibition groups, as well as a speeded extinction effect early in extinction. However, extinction of expectancy ratings was less complete in the latent inhibition groups. The beneficial effects of the latent inhibition technique may be in promoting early success of self-exposures or exposure treatment and motivating the patient to continue on the exposure path


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